Facilities managers always need a plan to deal with natural disasters, such as fires and hurricanes. But throw in a pandemic and add social unrest into the equation and, suddenly, what disaster preparedness looks like for a business’ facility manager is a whole lot different.

Vixxo’s Penny Carter, Vice President of Operational Excellence, and Johannes Guese, Director of Service Provider Management, spoke about today’s disaster challenges and what companies can do to get proactive with preparedness.

“COVID has added another variable when planning for disasters, because it is, in and of itself, a type of disaster that businesses have to plan for,” Guese said.

Many things took businesses by surprise, from infrastructure changes, i.e., installing plexiglass protection shielding, social distancing markers and signage, to the scarcity of resources from employees to vendors and materials.

And, when firms and stores began opening back up, disinfection cleaning supplies became high in demand.

Are facilities managers not proactive enough in terms of disaster preparedness?

“Depending on the knowledge of a facilities department or the customer business owner, we find they either approach it right up front and, together in partnership, we work right through it,” Carter said. “Or they come to us at the last minute saying, ‘I don’t understand what to do, can you help me?’ It’s being an active player in their business and guiding them as you’re watching the situation per season.”

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